By Mark Winegar on Thu, 12/27/2012
“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” - Will Durant
Assigning projects is a critical point in engaging students in higher order thinking projects with or without iPads. It just has to be done right.
I cannot over stress the importance of framing the project as one of discovery. As in most things, many of the things we explore and not simple. They don’t have a single correct answer. Validity is often dependent upon one’s point of view. Thus it is essential to encourage participants to express their ideas openly which means you and I must create a safe environment for self-expression.
This means you must isolate the content of student expression from the evaluation process. In other words, assess how ideas are expressed rather than the ideas themselves.
How can we expect students to become independent if we don’t allow them the freedom of expression?
Once you establish mutual respect with your participants you can sail into the deeper waters of academic controversy. I do this by raising current issues as opportunities for discovery, reflection, and expression. For instance, my students have done projects on health care reform and the Iraq War,
Participants in my upcoming workshop are high school teachers and I will not be doing any assessment so they are free and accustomed to speaking their minds. I don’t anticipate any clams.
These are the projects they will be working on.
Tax reform is a hot issue in politics today. What legislation would you suggest to establish fair taxation? Please explain your choice(s).
Considering the school shootings of recent years, do you or do you not recommend armed personnel in every school? What do you base your position on?
As personal computing technologies become more costly many schools find their budgets are too stressed to invest in them. Some educators are suggesting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy to fill the gap. Is this a policy you would recommend? Please explain your position?
Given current events relating to shooting incidents, do you or do you not suggest legislation to regulate the capacity of ammunition clips? What is you rationale?
The recent shootings at Sandy Hook cause us all to wonder how we might prevent such a tragedy from happening again. What is an assault weapon? Do you, or do you not, support legislation restricting the sale of assault weapons? Please explain?
Twenty-four states including South Dakota have Right To Work laws. What do this mean and do you or do you not support such laws? Please explain your position?
Physical Education & Health
There is a rather large number of students who immigrated to the United States, through not fault of their own, when they were small children. What is our responsibility to these people? What is the Dream Act and do you or do you not support it? Please explain your rationale.
Most Americans believe the right to bear arms extends to private citizens but should it be free from restriction? If so, what restrictions do you recommend? If not, why not?
Do you or do you not support health care reform (AKA Obamacare)? Please explain your reasons?
Workshops participants have a very short amount of time to participate in any project involving higher order thinking and self-expression. Therefore my participants are assigned to teams and given their topics in advance allowing them an opportunity to spend more time in discovery and reflection. Our time together must be limited to self-expression which will be accomplished by videos of between three and five minutes duration. I will demonstrate posting videos to Edmodo as podcasts.
We will be using iPads and Camera to make the videos. It is our hope that some participants will take new skills back to the classroom and confidently engage their students in projects requiring high order thinking and analysis.